Upgrading brakes for beginner bike

kiwiinmelb

Likes Dirt
I recently brought an entry level mtb,
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/bikes/model/talon.2.black.green/10451/52900/

have been getting stuck into my riding and with the benefit of hindsight wished i had spent a bit more on a bike with better components as my first , too late for that now and too early for another bike so have decided to upgrade a few things, already put a new fork on (Rockshox recon silver) and now want to do something about the brakes .

Am leaning towards these
http://tbsm.com.au/bike-parts/brakes/complete-brakes/shimano-slx-br-m666-disc-brake-rear-9800

will my existing rotars and mounts work ok with these ?

Another option is these , they come with with rotars and mounts
http://tbsm.com.au/bike-parts/brakes/complete-brakes/avid-2011-elixir-3-6-160mm-7562

its all new to me so any advice appreciated . cheers.
 

XYGTHO

Likes Dirt
I recently brought an entry level mtb,
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/bikes/model/talon.2.black.green/10451/52900/

have been getting stuck into my riding and with the benefit of hindsight wished i had spent a bit more on a bike with better components as my first , too late for that now and too early for another bike so have decided to upgrade a few things, already put a new fork on (Rockshox recon silver) and now want to do something about the brakes .

Am leaning towards these
http://tbsm.com.au/bike-parts/brakes/complete-brakes/shimano-slx-br-m666-disc-brake-rear-9800

will my existing rotars and mounts work ok with these ?

Another option is these , they come with with rotars and mounts
http://tbsm.com.au/bike-parts/brakes/complete-brakes/avid-2011-elixir-3-6-160mm-7562

its all new to me so any advice appreciated . cheers.
Exact same as me mate. Bought an entry level $700 bike new from local bike shop and have just loved it and gotten stuck into it more than I though I would. Already gone in an XC race and keen for more. Im running mech discs and have started to feel they are fading? Not sure if hydro would do the same? I am also keen on shock upgrade but unsure how much difference it would make. Im running 80mm travel XCM2 Suntours on a Fuji Nevada 1. Did you find the shock upgrade worth it?
I feel the same and in hindsight (will def in future) buy a better second hand bike off here. But like you say just bought it so going to get the most out of it. But def keen on your findings of the fork upgrade. Did you install yourself?
 

steve24

Likes Bikes and Dirt
existing rotors will be fine, you have centre lock which is different from the 6 bolt that comes with elixir 3s and would need an adaptor to run those rotors....
 

kiwiinmelb

Likes Dirt
Exact same as me mate. Bought an entry level $700 bike new from local bike shop and have just loved it and gotten stuck into it more than I though I would. Already gone in an XC race and keen for more. Im running mech discs and have started to feel they are fading? Not sure if hydro would do the same? I am also keen on shock upgrade but unsure how much difference it would make. Im running 80mm travel XCM2 Suntours on a Fuji Nevada 1. Did you find the shock upgrade worth it?
I feel the same and in hindsight (will def in future) buy a better second hand bike off here. But like you say just bought it so going to get the most out of it. But def keen on your findings of the fork upgrade. Did you install yourself?
the upgrade in fork was well worth it for me, the fork that came with the bike was rockshoxs bottom of the range fork , (XC 28)and later after buying the bike I read reviews that it was probably the negative of the bike

I asked around and most people thought if i upgraded the difference would be huge and it was, I brought these http://tbsm.com.au/bike-parts/suspension/single-crown-forks/rockshox-2012-recon-silver-tk-coil-100mm-26-suspension-fork-

They tend to come on bikes that sell around the $1500 mark.I got a shop to do it for me, thought it was crucial it was done properly.

but i dont know what you have and how they compare to what i had. cheers mate
 

yiannos18

Likes Dirt
you won't be disappointed (matter of fact, you'll be in awe) with the SLX brakes, as apparently they are almost identical in feel and power to XT (my bike has 2012 XT brakes) which are also identical to XTR... so same brake as XTR minus fancy stuff (ie lightweight materials, variety of adjustment, funky appearance, etc)
any brake will work with the mounts, as long as you have a post mounts or post mount adapter that converts the IS mounts to post.
the rotors are relative really... want bigger rotors? make sure that you have the corresponding mounts (6 bolt or centrelock) on the rotor and then note the size, as you will have to purchase larger caliper mounts...
 

AngoXC

Wheel size expert
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this could quickly become an expensive exercise.

Things you may want to consider;

It's highly likely that both the Avid and Shimano brakes are equipped with metallic/sintered brake pads. If you have a look at your rotors, you'll probably see 'Resin Pads Only' stamped somewhere. Using full metallic pads on these rotors will quickly wear them out - you'll either need to purchase organic/resin brake pads for your brakes to use in the interim (probably the cheaper option) or purchase new rotors.

(Please note that you'll require Center Lock rotors for use on your current wheels or use a '6-bolt > Center Lock' adapter for use with traditional 6-bolt rotors.)

The Giant website lists your bike as featuring 'Shimano Altus EF60 24 sp. EZ FIRE+' shifters which are a combination brake lever/gear shifter from memory. You will need to purchase separate shifter pods to match your new brakes. Something like this is PERFECT. Another alternative (if funds permit) would be to upgrade to 9 or 10 speed but that would require compatible shifters, chain and cassette and in the case of 10 speed, derailleur and crankset. (ie. expensive).

Otherwise, brakes will mount to your frame/fork no worries.

I personally would recommend a Shimano brake over an Avid brake any day. After owning and riding both systems in the past, I've found Shimano to be easier to maintain and service and much more reliable in the long term.

Whilst a brake upgrade on an entry-level rig may not be quite as straightforward as initially thought, it's still very much a worth while exercise, especially if you're keen to get stuck further into MTBing.

Second-hand might also be an option. When I first got hooked on mountain biking, my Giant Yukon transformed quickly from this:

Yukon.jpg

to this,

3407875115_30240dfd7e.jpg

Best of luck!
 
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cobba

Likes Dirt
Am leaning towards these
http://tbsm.com.au/bike-parts/brakes...rake-rear-9800

will my existing rotars and mounts work ok with these ?
PM fork & PM calipers means no adapter is needed on the front when using a 160mm rotor, the rear brake adapter you have would be fine to use with the SLX caliper but your current brakes have resin pads and the rotors are made for use with resin pads only.
What pads does the SLX caliper come with ?

For 6 bolt rotors on your centrelock hubs you'd need a couple of the following:
http://tbsm.com.au/bike-parts/brakes/brake-spares-rebuild-kits/shimano-centerlock-adapter-for-6-bolt-rotor-5640

* If you get hydro brakes you'll also need to get new shifters too.

Before you buy new brakes do a bit of reading first:
http://www.mtbr.com/cat/brakes/disc-brake-system/pls_1507crx.aspx
http://forums.mtbr.com/brake-time/
 

kiwiinmelb

Likes Dirt
Thanks very much for all your help,

While Im appreciative that I now know more about it , im a bit disappointed its not so simple as I had hoped,

So to make that clear, apart from the Brakes, I will also need to buy new Rotors, Adapters and shifters ?

Im not the most patient handyman going around , now that its become more involved I would probably prefer to handball the labor , what sort of time and labor would be involved with all that and would I still be best to buy my own parts online or give the whole job to a LBS?
 

MarioM

Likes Dirt
Thanks very much for all your help,

While Im appreciative that I now know more about it , im a bit disappointed its not so simple as I had hoped,

So to make that clear, apart from the Brakes, I will also need to buy new Rotors, Adapters and shifters ?

Im not the most patient handyman going around , now that its become more involved I would probably prefer to handball the labor , what sort of time and labor would be involved with all that and would I still be best to buy my own parts online or give the whole job to a LBS?
The best way to learn is to do it yourself . Get yourself a copy of Zinn and the art of mountain bike maintenace book , its the best and explains it all so easy . Sometimes i would be lost without mine . Not only that , there is nothing like the feeling of doing things yourself . Its like a rite of passage , allow yourself to swear and carry on ( i don`t have anger issues ) and plenty of beer helps too . Buy your parts here theres some good deals in garage sale .
 

redbruce

Eats Squid
I recently brought an entry level mtb,
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/bikes/model/talon.2.black.green/10451/52900/

have been getting stuck into my riding and with the benefit of hindsight wished i had spent a bit more on a bike with better components as my first , too late for that now and too early for another bike so have decided to upgrade a few things, already put a new fork on (Rockshox recon silver) and now want to do something about the brakes .

Am leaning towards these
http://tbsm.com.au/bike-parts/brakes/complete-brakes/shimano-slx-br-m666-disc-brake-rear-9800

will my existing rotars and mounts work ok with these ?

Another option is these , they come with with rotars and mounts
http://tbsm.com.au/bike-parts/brakes/complete-brakes/avid-2011-elixir-3-6-160mm-7562

its all new to me so any advice appreciated . cheers.
Although we have Avid on four of our bikes, I have had one juicy set die after a bit over a years use and the others periodically experience Avid squeal and mushy feel. In future I would go for Shimano.

There is a big risk of overcapitalising with upgrades for little comparative performance advantage over more modest offerings so keep a lookout for the specials. As far as brakes, its hard to go past http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=28021. For that quality/ price its not worth the risk of buying second hand. These are a significant upgrade from your current brakes. Being a post mount you will need an adapter to the ISO mount on the rear.

There will be wear issues with your disks as they are designed for the softer resin pads but I'd just run them until they need replacing.

You will need new bar shifters as your current ones are integrated with the cable brake lever. Being 8 speed these can be a little harder to find and then only in the lower end stuff. Try http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=38697. Once again for the price not worth looking for second hand.

From memory the bars are fairly narrow so another worthwhile upgrade to consider is a 689 - 690mm handlebar: http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=41191 or http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=41039.

I recon you can fit all this yourself with a bit of help from your friends here and google generally.
 
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redbruce

Eats Squid
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this could quickly become an expensive exercise.

Things you may want to consider;

It's highly likely that both the Avid and Shimano brakes are equipped with metallic/sintered brake pads. If you have a look at your rotors, you'll probably see 'Resin Pads Only' stamped somewhere. Using full metallic pads on these rotors will quickly wear them out - you'll either need to purchase organic/resin brake pads for your brakes to use in the interim (probably the cheaper option) or purchase new rotors.

(Please note that you'll require Center Lock rotors for use on your current wheels or use a '6-bolt > Center Lock' adapter for use with traditional 6-bolt rotors.)

The Giant website lists your bike as featuring 'Shimano Altus EF60 24 sp. EZ FIRE+' shifters which are a combination brake lever/gear shifter from memory. You will need to purchase separate shifter pods to match your new brakes. Something like this is PERFECT. Another alternative (if funds permit) would be to upgrade to 9 or 10 speed but that would require compatible shifters, chain and cassette and in the case of 10 speed, derailleur and crankset. (ie. expensive).

Otherwise, brakes will mount to your frame/fork no worries.

I personally would recommend a Shimano brake over an Avid brake any day. After owning and riding both systems in the past, I've found Shimano to be easier to maintain and service and much more reliable in the long term.

Whilst a brake upgrade on an entry-level rig may not be quite as straightforward as initially thought, it's still very much a worth while exercise, especially if you're keen to get stuck further into MTBing.

Second-hand might also be an option. When I first got hooked on mountain biking, my Giant Yukon transformed quickly from this:

View attachment 233061

to this,

View attachment 233062

Best of luck!
Ah brings back memories Ango, good to see the old Yukon with upgrades. That year/model was my start a few years ago (frame found on hard rubbish) and now my son rides/races it and loves it although the only original part is the frame. The rest is basically XT, Reba RLT Ti and DT240 with Mavic 717 rims. He loves it. As an aside that year frame (2005 ish) was basically an XTC frame (same main frame and stay tubes) with a slightly shorter top tube and a thinner walled head tube so they are a pretty good jigger. My large (19") has ended up weighing around 10kg.
 
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nathanm

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Gotta love a begginer bike. I too had an 07 Yukon which I turned into a lightweight xc bike with reba's and XT. Then changed it into a DH hardtail as pictured.


Back to topic. If you wanted to keep your current shifter/brake pods then you could look at something like the Avid BB7 mechanical disk brakes. http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=79346. Not too badly priced if it comes with adaptors and rotors. You will get better performance from a hydro for not too much more, though you could probably pick these up second hand here pretty cheap, think I saw a set for $50 not long ago.

Otherwise I've got some 3x8 deore shifters on ebay atm. if they don't sell I'm happy to give them too you, though you'll need inner cables for them.
 
Hello There...

I upgraded the brakes on my hybrid bike to a set of Shimano XT M785 Disc Brake Lever and PM Calipers with 160mm 6 bolt Icetec rotors. These are the cheaper version of the top of the line Shimano XTR series which I have on my MTB.

This was a massive leap up on the original M445 brakes.

After they bedded in, the stopping power is staggering. This is a fantastic option.

BTW, I use TBSM a lot, and their service has been terrific. I will typically visit Wiggles, ChainReaction and TBSM. Whoever has want I want at the best price gets the sale.
 

AngoXC

Wheel size expert
Ah brings back memories Ango, good to see the old Yukon with upgrades. That year/model was my start a few years ago (frame found on hard rubbish) and now my son rides/races it and loves it although the only original part is the frame. The rest is basically XT, Reba RLT Ti and DT240 with Mavic 717 rims. He loves it. As an aside that year frame (2005 ish) was basically an XTC frame (same main frame and stay tubes) with a slightly shorter top tube and a thinner walled head tube so they are a pretty good jigger. My large (19") has ended up weighing around 10kg.
Awesome! Haven't seen many for a while but there was a period or time when there were stacks of tricked out 'entry level' hard tails.
My Yukon has had many incarnations - that was an early 'aggressive build'. This was later reincarnated into a lightweight XC build (on a budget of course!) with a set of stupid-light '00 SID Hydra Airs and a full XT group set. Soon after, I acquired an early Giant NRS frameset (which is still my main ride!) and the Yukon stepped out of the limelight and into an SS build. Got sick of SS (too many hills around here) and traded the kit for gears and used it as a commuter. The bike copped a fair bit of use (and neglect here) going for weeks and hundreds of k's without a good clean/grease. Never skipped a beat. I've since built her back into a respectable steed with no nonsense parts as a rig I can lend to people in an attempt to entice them into MTBing (simple Marzocchi EXR fork, Hayes brakes, Deore LX 1x9 gearing...stuff that just works).

+1 for Avid BB7s. These brakes are the pick of the mechanical brake offering and offer braking performance on par with many budget hydraulic systems. These guys will attach directly to your existing levers and use your existing cables (assuming they're in good nick). Like your current brake set up, very simple brakes - easy to service and maintain by yourself (unlike hydraulic systems which are a little more complicated).

A slightly larger front rotor (180mm) may be worth considering also as an interim measure - I recently treated my old Yukon to some Alligator 180mm rotors (the ones that look like saw blades) and they go very well over the tired Hayes V-cuts. They were around $10/end on sale though T7.

Good luck!
 

kiwiinmelb

Likes Dirt
This is a little bit from left field to solve my desire of wanting better brakes lol ,

http://www.merida.com.au/2011-bikes/mtb-hardtail/matts-tfs-sport-series/matts-tfs-900-d.htm

A local merida shop is selling these for a straight grand,( 2011 model) is it a steal that it seems to me ,(havnt been in there to check the sizes ), or now that i have put the better fork ( rockshox silver)on the Talon , and if i do the brakes im close to the standard of this bike anyway, or ..... in your honest opinions im still well behind the standard of this bike with the brakes done ,

just thought ' IF ' its a red hot bargain i could grab it ,remembering that the brakes could end up costing me 2 -$300 plus hassle, keep the talon as a commuter and a bike my sons could ride if they wanted to come with the old man.

but if its only a slight improvement i wouldnt worry about it too much , Ill wait and upgrade better down the track, just figured the merida RRP $1750 the talon $650 perhaps there has to be a reason for that.

Appreciate all your feedback . Cheers
 

MarioM

Likes Dirt
This is a little bit from left field to solve my desire of wanting better brakes lol ,

http://www.merida.com.au/2011-bikes/mtb-hardtail/matts-tfs-sport-series/matts-tfs-900-d.htm

A local merida shop is selling these for a straight grand,( 2011 model) is it a steal that it seems to me ,(havnt been in there to check the sizes ), or now that i have put the better fork ( rockshox silver)on the Talon , and if i do the brakes im close to the standard of this bike anyway, or ..... in your honest opinions im still well behind the standard of this bike with the brakes done ,

just thought ' IF ' its a red hot bargain i could grab it ,remembering that the brakes could end up costing me 2 -$300 plus hassle, keep the talon as a commuter and a bike my sons could ride if they wanted to come with the old man.

but if its only a slight improvement i wouldnt worry about it too much , Ill wait and upgrade better down the track, just figured the merida RRP $1750 the talon $650 perhaps there has to be a reason for that.

Appreciate all your feedback . Cheers
Love Meridas . I have just built a TFS800D . A grand is a sensational price for that bike . Check out merida clearance website for other bikes . Now you should probably ask yourself for that price why dont i buy a second hand dually .Giant trances can be bought for that sort of money and come with better spec also . Hell the way the economy is you will get something great s/hand for a steal . I`m sure there are some on here .
 
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